Dear Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo,
Congratulations on your appointment as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association!
You now hold one of the most prestigious positions in the elite world of health publications. Medical researchers, professionals, and policymakers now look to you for leadership, and it is incumbent on you to set the highest standards of scholarship and allow the broadest scope of debate. The tone you take, and the decisions you make, will shape healthcare in extraordinary ways. You can either advance or undermine physicians’ life-saving work, patients’ health, and the public’s trust.
As the leader of an organization focused on ensuring excellence and equality in healthcare, I look forward to hearing your vision in your conversation with Usha Lee McFarling on September 20. Along with countless other medical professionals, educators, and patients, I hope your remarks will touch on the following issues:
- Do you believe physicians are inherently racist? This central tenet of “anti-racism” is baseless and destructive. It undermines trust between patients and physicians, while also driving physician burnout. Hopefully you will respect the commitment of medical professionals, and reject so-called “implicit bias” testing, which has been proven unreliable and unsound.
- Do you support racial discrimination? Race-based policies, including preferential treatment and access to care, are inherent to “anti-racism” – and they have no place in healthcare. Hopefully you believe it’s always wrong to treat people differently because of skin color.
- Will you enact discriminatory policies? The journal Health Affairs recently launched a fellowship that explicitly excluded white people from applying, a trend that’s also on the rise in medical schools. Hopefully you will disavow any policy – or any medical society or institution – that excludes or prioritizes people by race.
- Will you put divisive ideology ahead of open debate and scientific inquiry? JAMA previously refused to run an ad from my organization that simply defined “anti-racism,” and it increasingly refuses to publish papers that critique “anti-racism,” “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” and their associated policies. Hopefully you will allow the vigorous scientific debate on which medical progress and individual health depend.
- Will you lower standards in the name of “diversity”? JAMA has a reputation for producing some of the best and most objective scholarly work on critical medical issues. Yet “diversity” is being used to demand that standards be lowered for journal writers, editors, reviewers, and staff, as well as students and medical professionals at other institutions. Hopefully you will uphold the standards and quality control that ensure JAMA’s reputation and influence.
Your answers to these questions will shape not only the journal you oversee, but also the very future of healthcare in America. For the sake of physicians and patients alike, I hope you move JAMA upward, toward world-class scholarship and scientific debate – not further downward, toward ideology, division, and racial discrimination.
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb
Chair, Do No Harm
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